Music to Make Horror Movies By: Vivian Blaine

Published August 28, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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She added a little sophistication and dignity to cheesy, fun monster fests such as 1979’s The Dark and to 1982’s Parasite, but the glorious Vivian Blaine was best known for her take on the ditzy Adelaide in the original Broadway and movie versions of Guys and Dolls. Most importantly, perhaps, Blaine was also one of the first celebrity advocates for the AIDS crisis, providing a very visible presence in a time when most public figures shunned the realities of the disease.

Blaine, who also acted and sang in multiple movie musicals with the likes of the vivacious Carmen Miranda and smooth crooner Perry Como, reprised Adelaide’s Lament, her most famous number from Guys and Dolls, on the 1971 Tony Awards, twenty years after her debut in the role. There, she proved, beyond a doubt, that no one could portray the little quirks and eccentricities of the character quite like she could.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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The Art of Ruff

Published August 25, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

Ruff Jason

My friend Christine couldn’t come out to play yesterday, but I didn’t mind. I just spent the night at home, writing under the watchful, protective eyes of little Jason, artist Bryan Ruff’s brilliantly gleeful and imaginatively childlike take on the legendary Friday the 13th villain!

In fact, all of Ruff’s soulful creations prove that the only guardian angels that any true horror lover will ever need are his personality filled imaginings of the younger versions of Michael, Pinhead, Leatherface and so many other terror icons. Ruff Michael

Besides the cute factor – which there is plenty of – what Ruff details, so personally, with these renderings is the innocence that these characters might have had before their more evil instincts took over. It’s a powerful reminder of the humanity that exists in our scares – something that is often overlooked in the flashier aspects of fright culture. It is also what sets Ruff’s work apart from so many other artists who are dealing with the terror genre. In a word, it’s heart.

To get your total horror movie “heart-on”, please visit www.facebook.com/theartofruff and https://www.instagram.com/sir_ruffikins/.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Charles Boyer

Published August 21, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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Cinematic psychological breakdown, anyone?!?

Suave Charles Boyer embodied one of the screen’s most smoothly evil villains driving the frightened Ingrid Bergman into morbidly dependent despair in the classic thriller Gaslight.

Years later, Boyer used his continental charm for much less devious pursuits when he talk-sang his way through the 1966 album Where Does Love Go, which was rumored to be one of Elvis Presley’s all time favorite recordings. The French man’s take on All The Things You Are is decidedly sweet, but (as all good things) could provide a sinister edge if placed in a overly attentive context.

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Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Viewing with Father Lou

Published August 20, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

Priest

“Be faithful to me tonight,” he cooed, prettily, wrapping himself around my leg as I tried to retain my concentration on Traci Lords and her notoriously notable, legitimate acting debut in the remake of Not of This Earth.

It was the spring of 1988. I was home, on a quick break from college, and the “he” in question was my first horror movie buddy. He had a tendency to annoy me with such requests, over the years, as we watched such outrageous fare as Bloodsucking Freaks, Creepers and Friday the 13th, Part 4 together. I knew him as Father Lou and I think, despite our family’s closeness to him, that is what I always referred to him by. I can’t ever remember just calling him “Lou”. Due to my dad’s insistence, he gained a position as “favorite family uncle” during the latter part of my freshman year of high school. My father, a determined social achiever who was running a huge school district by the end of his career, was hot to make his way into the upper reaches of our local parish and a friendship with the new priest was a sure way to do it.

Father Lou endeared himself to us all, though, with his outrageous wit and sense of fun and cookie jars full of peanut M and M’s and red licorice. Most importantly, he embraced my love of all things terror related, something my parents thought made me a bit mentally unbalanced, and we were soon trading paperback novels with each other and, excitedly, rhapsodizing over our favorite films. While he made inappropriate comments, here or there, in my early teen years, it was once I hit 17 and he began to suspect that my friendships with other men in summer stock companies and various theater programs might be sexual in nature, that his efforts to seduce me tripled.

Once or twice, I would give in.

Questionable teen hormones and pure frustration allowed me to grant him a quick rendezvous or two in which his smooth rotund stomach and firm yet stubby penis were the primary participants. Both times, he would weakly ejaculate before I even had to touch him and he would quickly pull up his impossibly large tighty whities and run upstairs to clean up before my parents arrived to indulge in church gossip with him or just to simply visit.

Honestly, I’ve never quite known where to place him on my personal sexual registry. Inappropriateness aside, I was already 18 and in my final year of high school by the time, worn down from repeated advances, I allowed him a first, furtive dalliance. In many ways, I suppose my experiences with him are akin to the relations that I had with various men that I slept with, out of last call desperation, in my younger days in the city.  He’s just another example of bad, instantly regrettable sex – a bizarre and off color story of my youth. He haunts me only in these dusty nostalgic ramblings or in those midnight hours as I bike the city streets, worn out from a work shift at the rib joint, and recollections, distant at first and then furtively prying, such as this overtake me. Otherwise, therapy and distance have reduced his foothold in my life, long ago.CREEPERS

More than anything, as a fully fledged cine-maniac, what I am most thankful for, I realize as I devise this, is that these woeful encounters did not color my love for the films we viewed. Many of  them were indicative of the more sordid excesses of the genre – making the fact that my first viewing of them was with him all the more interesting, I suppose – and I still revel in that juicy freedom. Talk to an ardent fan of any type of media and oftentimes who they were with and the positivity that surrounded said creation are highly indicative of their devotion to it. Here, I am glad that sometimes celluloid itself is enough. That art, in whatever form it may arrive in, does indeed prevail.

I still adore Creepers (and Phenomena, its more legitimate rendering). It was my introduction to Italian horror cinema just as Bloodsucking Freaks was my first, very uncomfortable witnessing of an extreme form of grindhouse cinema. Both were bold and unconventional, aspects that I have wished for in my own life. These characteristics have, naturally, informed me more than anything else and I am fortified in the knowledge that they peek through at the most appropriate moments. Most especially, I hope, when recounting moments like this.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Tab Hunter

Published August 14, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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Tab Hunter’s latter day career answered that eternal cinematic question: Where do smooth dream boys go, once they age? Why into deliciously low budget horror films, naturally. In fact, Hunter, who hit it big in the ‘50s with such films as Battle Cry and Damn Yankees, might have just gotten his best roles as a psychotic, momma loving beach boy and as a secretly deformed, revenge fueled doctor in such projects as 1973’s Sweet Kill (AKA The Arousers) and 1988’s Grotesque.

Tab 2Hunter, who was discovered by legendary gay agent Henry Willson, also, as many teen idols before and after him, took to the recording studios and actually scored a number of hits. I Love You, Yes I Do wasn’t one of them, but it has a rockier edge than some of his more popular numbers, possibly earning it a  place of honor in every eclectic garage rocker’s heart.

Meanwhile, Hunter, who has revealed how his own homosexuality altered his career in an excellent memoir and highly celebrated documentary, is always carrying a tune at www.tabhunter.com.

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Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Hopelessly Devoted to: Tiffany Helm

Published August 5, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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Being a badass might be occasionally hard on the soul, but in a series of roles in the late ‘80s, presence filled genre regular Tiffany Helm made it all look very easy.

Helm is, naturally, best known for her sullenly accurate portrayal of pixie-punk Violet in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. But a year after that sequel hit the theater chains, Helm was back in early riot mode as the dangerous Andrea Eldridge in the WIP homage Reform School Girls.Tiffany 1

As one of head bad girl Charlie’s closest allies, Helm took all the subtle qualities that she brought to Violet and gave them a maniacal twist. She even gives razor voiced co-star Wendy O. Williams, a truly authoritative figure, a run for her money in the damaged honeys sweepstakes. With a sweet opponent smashed up against the bathroom floor, Helm provides sinisterly quiet intent as Andrea readies a flame to brand her as Charlie’s latest conquest. It’s one of the truly chilling moments in a film that sometimes operates more from a sense of humor than true menace. (Slasher historians, meanwhile, should note that another one of Helm’s codependents in mayhem here is played by Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives saucy Darcy DeMoss.)

Tiffany 2Helm’s character Vickie in a 1988 episode of 21 Jump Street was the one to get rudimentary ink, though. As a drug addled teen, she, once again, applies a subtle gravitas in a rather heavily handled episode about suicide. Nicely, Helm does get some private screen time here with Johnny Depp. His slightly iconic Tom Hanson saves her ink stained, addicted character from mass destruction. This episode entitled Best Years of Your Life may be best remembered, though, for its inclusion of Brad Pitt as one of the guest stars portraying a member of Helm’s truly troubled academic clan.

Helm rounded out the decade by playing a slightly exasperated southern waitress named Mary on the Heartbreak Hotel episode of Freddy’s Nightmares. Yes, like Friday the 13th Part 7’s Lar Park Lincoln, Helm switched to team Nightmare here, allowing herself a lighter touch and a sense of comedic sweetness that the other mentioned roles didn’t always grant her. Abandoned and pregnant, poor Mary gives birth to an alien in one dream sequence and to an (unseen) devil baby in another segment. Obscure, perhaps, but just like Helm, the part was certainly a memorable one!

Be sure to keep up with all of Helm’s various activities at https://www.facebook.com/tiffanyhelmfanpage.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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On Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

Published August 4, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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Like most siblings, my brother and I had very different interests and likes. I still have trouble admitting I enjoy any Madonna songs because of his slavish preteen devotion to her. He, meanwhile, simply couldn’t stand horror films. He was totally unnerved by them. Something I found funny, at the time.

We had two farm kid friends, brothers, as well.  One was exactly my age and the other was exactly my brother’s. We had grown up with them, but they had moved away sometime during our grade school years and, afterwards, we only saw them when they came to visit relatives on the holidays. The spring break of my junior year, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning opened and I was determined to go. The other brothers were, as well. So one evening, despite my younger sibling’s protests, we set out to the local mall, a half hour car ride away, to see it. My diminutive but fierce mother had to safe guard us in, past the protests of the concerned, middle aged ticket takers and through the emotional struggles of my baby bro, who was totally and completely distressed about what he was about to witness.Friday-the-13th-A-New-Beginning-Joey-Death

Of course, once inside, we others had a blast tormenting him – telling him to remove his hands from his eyes before the violent sequences had finished and egging on his tension during the more quiet scenes. Ultimately, three of us left the theater very happy. One did not.

My brother and I were very different from a lot of the kids that we grew up around. It was a small town where athleticism was highly praised and mechanical and factory work was the norm. Meanwhile, my brother was an artist who loved digging through fashion magazines to discover his latest inspirations and I had already had a season or two of summer stock under my belt and had attended a couple of fancy theater programs when school was out of session. The next morning, as I was bumming through the house, half watching soap operas as I piddled around in my bare feet, I discovered an open letter that my mother had started in a notebook. She had left it on the kitchen counter. Whether it was an accident or subconsciously purposeful, I’ve never determined. It was a journal entry (of sorts) to God. She was thanking him for our cinema outing the night before. She blessed him for allowing her boys to actually act normal for once (by hanging out with regular kids) and recounted how proud she was that we actually were, at least on some level, like other teenage guys. And…thanks!

Friday-the-13th-A-New-Beginning-friday-the-13th-20998880-900-506Funny…It actually, it hurts me more writing this now, thirty years later, than when I discovered it then. Somehow, thankfully, at 17, I scoffed it off, realizing how ridiculous her missive was. Despite my uncaring frivolity the previous evening, I always was aware that we were cruelly scarring my brother through our actions. She was the one who forced him to attend the film despite his obvious despair, yet now she seemed to feel there was something almost holy in her intent. Psychologically, in retrospect, I’m sure she realized that we were gay and was simply try to forestall, in action and word, the troubling realities that she would have to face head on, in later years. But in that silly and shameful moment, she could breathe for a minute, believing that we were of the stereotypically sane and proud junior members of the small town status quo.

But, what she didn’t realize, and what I probably couldn’t have articulated fully at the time, was that I never wanted to be considered normal. I wanted to live in cities and know poets and playwrights and alt rockers. I wanted to act in plays and film and television. I wanted to be, in my own way, mythical and above the ordinary and the last thing I wanted to be like were these two very common friends of mine (who I planned to leave behind as soon as I could) – or anyone that I knew at the time, for that matter. And while my insecurities and self-doubts have been major stumbling blocks on more than one occasion – that is the life, to one degree or another, that I’ve led.pam

Which leads me back to Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. More than pure nostalgia, I love it because, unlike other slasher films of the day, its victims weren’t jock assholes or pretty socialites that you couldn’t wait to see get the crossbow. The film took place in a halfway house for kids and no one there was…say it together, now…normal.

Who can forget Debisue Voorhees’ giddy, uncontrollable laughter as the carefree Tina or Dominick Brasca’s sweet pout and eager energy as the eternally friendless, socially awkward Joey? For many others, this may be the Halloween III of the series with its fake Jason, but for me it features John Shepard’s method work as the tortured, barely sane Tommy and the brash hope provided by Shavar Ross’ young and practically abandoned Reggie. Nicely, the film is even anchored by a more sophisticated final girl, Melanie Kinnaman’s very effective and concerned counselor, Pam.  Most significantly, though, the film features the beyond awesome, punkish Violet, arguably one of the series’ best remembered characters. She is enacted passionately by the divine Tiffany Helm, who even helped clothe the character Siouxsie-style and provided the iconic robot dance moves for her memorable death scene.

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Yes, like me and so many other horror fans, this film features characters that weren’t of the straight laced vanguard and didn’t want to be. They, like us, were brilliant outsiders and I can’t imagine any misguided, sorrowful note from their mother’s ever bringing them down, as well. Hell, anyone with half (a stabbed out) brain knows only fake Jason could do that! 

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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